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Atrial fibrillation

Bariatric surgery reduces risk of atrial fibrillation

Study shows positive correlation between bariatric surgery and reduced risk of atrial fibrillation

Bariatric surgery is an effective way to control weight in morbidly obese patients who are at risk for developing atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study presented at Heart Rhythm 2014, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 35th Annual Scientific Sessions.

“Obesity has become an epidemic in our culture and prevention efforts are more important now than ever,” said Dr Yong-Mei Cha, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, MN, an author of the study. “Bariatric surgery is a preventative measure that obese patients may choose to take and our study shows that the surgery helps them not only lose weight, but also reduces their risk of developing a serious cardiac condition, like AF. It is important to continue the conversation about how to help prevent this epidemic from becoming even more widespread.”

The retrospective study was conducted in 438 patients with a BMI>40 or higher and identified as good candidates for bariatric surgery. Of these patients, 326 elected to undergo surgery for weight reduction and 112 controls were managed medically. The diagnosis of AF was documented by electrocardiogram or ambulatory monitors and metabolic profiles were collected at baseline and follow-up.

The baseline BMI was different in the patients that underwent surgery versus those who did not have surgery (46.9 vs. 43.2). The prevalence of AF at baseline was not significantly different between the two groups (surgical 3.7 percent vs. control 4.5 percent, p=0.63) at baseline. After a mean follow-up duration of 7.2±3.7 years, new onset of AF occurred in 3.1 percent of surgical group, significantly lower than 12.5 percent (p<0.01) in the medically treated group.

Additionally, the researchers found that the group receiving bariatric surgery had a significant reduction in BMI compared with the control group (−12.1±0.4 vs. 0.2±0.7; p<0.001) and some improvements in metabolic profile.

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